MANTRALAYAM AND PANCHA MUGA ANJANEYAR CAVE TEMPLE
Mantralayam is situated at Karnool district in Andhra Pradesh on the banks of the sacred river Thungabadra. The nearest railway station is Mantralayam Road which is about 10 km away from Mantralayam. It is the famous pilgrim centre for all Hindus and in particular, for the people of Madhava sect, who make it a point to visit this holy place at least once in their life time.
It is here where the great saint and Guru, Swamy Raghavendrar attained ‘Jeeva samathi’ in the year 1671 AD after performing a penance for 12 years in a cave situated about 22 km from Mantralayam. The cave is now called Panchamuga Anjaneya Temple. It is said Swamy Raghavendrar had darshan of Lord Hanuman in Panchamuga form here and there is a naturally manifested Lord Hanuman with five forms in this cave temple.
Prior to visting Swamy Raghavendrarar’s temple, one must visit the shrine of Sri Yarkallamma situated at the entrance of Brindavan, where the Jeeva Samadhi of the swamy is there. It is told that Sawamiji worshiped this deity and a visit to her shrine makes one’s visit to his temple complete in all respects. While there is no dress code emphasized in Brindhavan, a male devotee in dhoti and angavastram gets priority over others to have a closer darshan through VIP entrance.
Shri Panchamuga Hanuman temple is on a small mound which is easily reached by a flight of steps amidst scenic rock formations surrounding it. While making the Girivlam of this shrine, one wonders at the natural beauty of several combinations of the rocks positioned naturally in the form of ‘a bed and pillow’, ‘an aerial vehicle’ and other forms. It is only left to the imagination of the viewer, who is wonder struck at the precariously poised stones, balancing one over the other, against the gravity forces, for thousands of years. The second question that comes to one’s mind is who or which force had done it like this, as such a natural formation is seldom seen anywhere. Truly, this is an architectural wonder of the Nature.
A visit to Mantralayam is not only a feast for the soul but also a treat for the eyes as well. At one stage I was wondering myself why I postponing my trip so long till the evening time of my life and that I should have done it much earlier. A friend of mine pointed out that such darshans are not granted against one’s wishes but is decided by the Lord when one should visit holy places like Mantralayam in one’s life. May be, he is right.